Marilyn dances . . . 1

Dance · Film
The first man to impersonate Marilyn Monroe may well have been her dance coach, Jack Cole. Anticipating the iconic Marilyn, he brought out her exceptional femininity through dance. Monroe copied him in return. A star was born. Monroe’s six-movie collaboration with Cole began with 1953’s “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” the breakthrough film that made her a ...

Why film community matters

In this coming Sunday’s Los Angeles Times Calendar section you will find my article about choreographer Jack Cole who coached Marilyn Monroe in movement over the course of six of her films. Most famously, he choreographed “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Jack Cole also choreographed “Put the Blame on Mame” for Rita Hayworth in Gilda, at ...

LACMA cancels film program 1

This is a bizarre personal twist to a story affecting our community. On Tuesday July 28 I did something I have never done before. I sent a proposal for a series on dance and film to Ian Birnie, the erstwhile head of LACMA’s superb film program.  The subject was choreographer Jack Cole whom I have been researching for ...

Travis Banton turned tootsies into stars 1

Fashion · Film
I had the great pleasure of spending a few hours with writer David Chierichetti, the film fashion expert. David is the biographer of the under appreciated film director Mitchell Leisen; costume designer Edith Head; and he is author of coffee table volume, Hollywood Costume Design. Driving in L.A. traffic en route to the Egyptian Theater, ...

Merce Cunningham (1919 – 2009)

It’s difficult to select a photo of Merce Cunningham. They are all so fabulous. Here’s an Annie Leibowitz portrait from 1994. Although I reviewed the company several times, I published only two feature pieces on Merce, one in 1984 in Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, and another in La Opinion in 2005. I first studied ...

Julius 1

Architecture & Design · Visual arts
A legend; a paragon of high standards; someone utterly true to himself. That was architectural photographer Julius Shulman who died in Los Angeles yesterday. His work draws you in with its simple power, revealing L.A.’s hidden beauty. As a human being, Julius startled and amused with his engaging, quarrelsome, inquisitive personality. They broke the mold when they made Julius.  Please ...

Twins separated at birth

  He even stole my hairdo.    

Twyla, Laura, and me 7

Dance · Reviews
When American women demanded, and then seized, social and sexual liberation in 1970, I was an intense 15-year-old high-school girl in suburban Pittsburgh. Feminism hit me hard and it formed me. I entered young womanhood with the lovely delusion that life would deliver every achievement and pleasure I sought. Five years later, having already burned through ...

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet

Dance · Reviews
The golden light in which gifted choreographer Ohad Naharin bathes his all-female quintet in “Decadance” is Mediterranean. It brings to mind the color of the air when frenetic Tel Aviv calms itself in the withering heat of the afternoon sun. Visions of Israel inevitably surface while watching “Decadance” Naharin’s perennial greatest-hits collection of choreographic output ...

Death of a great dancer 3

Dance · Music